Nine people were killed in a stampede at a party in central Ghana to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a public official told reporters today.
“We so far have nine people who are dead, six females and three males,” said Nurudeen Hamidan, the head of the Asokore Mampong municipal assembly, in the city of Kumasi.
There was no immediate comment from the police in the city, which is 255 kilometres northwest of the capital, Accra.
But Hamidan said three bodies have been identified so far and six people were injured, one of them critically, and were receiving treatment in hospital.
The party was organised yesterday at a community centre in the Asawase area of Kumasi as the climax to the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of a month of fasting and prayer.
Local member of parliament Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka said carnivals were often held to celebrate the occasion but in the past have been marked by clashes between youths.
Organisers had told police the carnival would end by 9:00 PM (local time) and a group, thought to number about 300, moved to the community centre, where a fight reportedly broke out, he added.
“In a bid for people to rush out… there was this stampede,” said Muntaka, from President John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress.
But Hamidan said there were conflicting reports about the cause of the tragedy and a security meeting had been called for this afternoon to determine what happened.
“People are saying so many things. Some are saying that there was a lights out and the meter sparked and the sound of the meter made people agitated,” he said.
“Others are saying that they finished the programme, they were leaving and there was a stampede along the way.
“As to what caused the actual stampede the security agencies are working to unravel what happened and we will take it on from there.”